South Sudan rebel chief meets Sudan President as rivals miss deadline
KHARTOUM - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar held talks with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday as a deadline passed to end months of civil war in the South.
Pressured by growing international condemnation of the war, the two sides had agreed on May 9 to forge a power-sharing government by Sunday.
Machar is on his first visit to Khartoum since December when his forces and those loyal to President Salva Kiir began the war which three ceasefires have failed to end.
There has been growing international condemnation of the fighting which has killed thousands of people and uprooted more than 1.5 million.
During the 1983-2005 Sudanese civil war which led to South Sudan's independence three years ago, Machar fought at varying times for both pro-independence rebels and for Sudan's government in Khartoum.
"We have a long history together," Machar said after briefing Bashir about peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, led by the East African regional block IGAD.
"There are some problems in the negotiations," he told reporters, citing disagreements over whether talks should occur directly with the government or involve broader representation.
An IGAD deadline for rebel and government forces to agree on a power-sharing deal and implement a ceasefire expired on Sunday.
Machar said his visit to Khartoum follows trips to other IGAD member nations, Djibouti and Kenya. In May, Machar held talks in Nairobi with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.